UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Lake Champlain

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

It’s a Level Playing Field at Lake Mead

It’s a Level Playing Field at Lake Mead

The Costa FLW Series hasn’t made its way to Lake Mead for a Western Division event since 2007, and while a lot has changed in the 12 years since, it’s as good a fishery as ever, especially for anglers who know how to effectively break down such a big body of water.

The Western Division kicks off its season with the event on Mead, which is presented by Ranger Boats, on Feb. 28. It’s been cold out west, or at least colder than usual for this time of year. As a result, bass in Mead are in a prespawn holding pattern, which should open the door for a multitude of approaches and patterns — provided anglers don’t get too intimidated by the 158,000-plus surface acres of water the fishery holds.

Complete details

 

WHAT TO EXPECT

If you’re going to talk to anyone about what to expect on a Western lake, Joe Uribe Jr. is probably your best bet for the best information. Uribe has been fishing the Costa FLW Series since 2011 and hasn’t finished below 16th place in Western Division Angler of the Year standings in that span. Six of his eight years fishing the circuit resulted in top-five finishes in the standings, including an AOY title in 2015.

Mead is also the lake were Uribe got his start in earnest as a boater.

“I cut my teeth at Lake Mead back in 2003 when I first started fishing on the pro side,” he says. “I would have to attribute a lot of my success to that lake. It’s kind of helped shape me to fish a lot smarter and more conservative.

“You’ve got so many different elements at that lake that really test your skills — boat-handling skills, equipment, your mental game. It’s a great tournament lake. It’s a very even playing field there. Just because you live there doesn’t mean you’re going to be favored to win; a lot of times it works against you.”

Because of Mead’s size, Uribe tends to break the lake down basin by basin, essentially chopping the fishery into a bunch of smaller lakes. Each section fishes a little differently, but the overall approach is going to be fairly uniform across the tournament field, assuming anglers don’t try to do too much.

“It’s going to be a lot of fish management,” Uribe adds. “Marking your areas and locating the fish, figuring out how to make a few of them bite. But then you’ve got the wind as a factor. That’s going to be the biggest curveball there. If you get a north wind, it’s going to really inhibit anglers from getting to where they want to go and fish it how they want to.”

Lake Mead is the epitome of a clear-water lake. It’s been cold lately, and with lower temperatures comes even clearer water — 30 to 40 feet of visibility, according to Uribe. Anglers are going to be able to find fish with their eyes alone fairly easily, but getting them to bite will be a different story. Shallow fish in ultra-clear water generally means easily spooked fish that aren’t necessarily easy to entice to bite.

Uribe figures it's best to temper expectations for weight totals. He expects the winning weight to be around 36 pounds for the three days.

“I would say probably 12 pounds a day to win,” he estimates. “As little as that sounds, 12 pounds is being pretty generous, because someone can catch 15 pounds one day and then come in with one fish the next day. That’s how that lake fishes.

“The quality of fish is going to be pretty good. If you can get a limit and then try to capitalize on that and get a kicker of 3 to 5 pounds, that’s going to be huge.”

 

PATTERNS TO WATCH

Prespawn on Mead is a great time to catch big fish, but even prespawn largemouths might not be enough to get it done in the Western Division opener.

“The smallmouths, I think, are going to be a real big player in this event because they don’t mind the colder temperatures,” Uribe says. “I’ve caught several over 4 or 4 1/2 pounds in that lake. I think we might see a couple of those. Guys who can mix it up with smallmouths and largemouths, I think that’s what you’re going to have to do.”

Drop-shots and tubes are always big players on Western lakes, especially when targeting smallmouths, but the predominant pattern is still probably going to involve targeting shallow largemouths relating to structure in clear water. Mead is a desert lake with all the typical desert lake features — brush, boulders and small ledges, mostly. Targeting those areas might be the meal ticket for the winning angler and co-angler.

“I think the best, most productive bait in this tournament is going to be a jig,” Uribe says. “If you can catch five a day on a jig, I think you’re going to win the tournament. Because it’s prespawn, the fish are going to be feeding on crawdads this time of the year. Most of the shad are going to be deep. It’s got a lot of rocky contours and ledges. A heavier jig fished effectively is going to be good.

“If the wind picks up, reaction baits like a spinnerbait, ChatterBait and crankbait are going to be a key player in this event as well.”

 

A LONG TIME COMING

The Costa FLW Series Western Division last visited Lake Mead in 2007, and just two times before that: 2003 and 2005. Those tournaments were all four-day events, and weight totals were a little below what Uribe expects this time around. In February 2007, Jeff Michels won with 31 pounds, 11 ounces. Thanh Le won it in April 2005 with 41-05, and Sean Minderman took the win in March 2003 with 31-15.

But much has changed for Mead in the years since, including the smallmouth boom that has resulted in a lot of quality bronzebacks being pulled from its waters in recent years. And even prior to those previous Costa FLW Series events, Mead was home to the current Nevada record largemouth of 12 pounds, landed in 1999. There are big fish to be had. It’ll just come down to time, water and fish management to put it all together.

 

Details

The Lake Mead Costa FLW Series tournament runs Feb. 28-March 2, and the City of Henderson Department of Cultural Arts and Tourism will host the event. Takeoff and weigh-in will take place at Callville Bay Forever Resorts, with weigh-ins streamed live on FLWFishing.com at 2:30 p.m. PT each day.

Complete details

Tags: lake-mead  -drop-shot  tube  spinnerbait  chatterbait  smallmouth  largemouth  bass  justin-onslow  pre-tournament  2019-02-28-lake-mead 

McCaghren Ready for Hamilton

McCaghren Ready for Hamilton

Billy McCaghren spends a lot of his free time coaching 8- to 10-year-old boys on how to swing and catch; but when the FLW Cup visits Hot Springs August 9-11, the Arkansas pro is hopeful that some of his young baseball players will be able to swing by and see the Lake Hamilton bass he plans on catching. READ MORE »

Summertime on Champlain

Summertime on Champlain

For three years running now, the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits has kicked off on Lake Champlain. The tournament, which is presented by Polaris, should offer great fishing like usual, but it’s going to be far different than the last two FLW Series tilts on the big Northern lake. READ MORE »

Big Little Boats

Big Little Boats

There is a massive surge in innovation in the fishing kayak industry, as evidenced by a showroom floor packed with canoes, kayaks, boats – and, in many cases, a combination of all of them – at ICAST 2019. READ MORE »

4 Hot New Reels from ICAST

4 Hot New Reels from ICAST

2019 is the year of the trolling motor at ICAST, but it wouldn’t be ICAST without at least a few next generation reels from some of the best manufacturers in the business. READ MORE »

Review: Strike King Thunder Cricket

Review: Strike King Thunder Cricket

Ever since Z-Man released the ChatterBait anglers haven’t really had the need to broaden their vibrating jig horizon – and not for lack of options, but simply because the ChatterBait is so good that you don’t really need anything else. With the launch of the Z-Man ChatterBait Jack Hammer a few years ago and the instant buzz surrounding it, the bar was set high for any other vibrating jigs entering the market. READ MORE »

Ouachita to host Dee Zee FLW/KBF Cup

Ouachita to host Dee Zee FLW/KBF Cup

The Dee Zee FLW/KBF Cup presented by YakAttack will feature up to 238 of the top kayak bass anglers from around the country who have qualified for the event through the FLW/KBF Kayak Open, the KBF National Championship, the KBF Trail and the KBF Pro Tour. They will be competing for a total prize package of $18,000 – a $3,000 Dee Zee gift card and $15,000 in cash. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is the kind of fishery that forces pros to make difficult decisions about where to go and what color of bass to target. This time around, in the FLW Tour 2019 finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, on the big Northern fishery, the decision was more interesting because there were spawning smallmouths everywhere up north, but the forecast was favorable for making the long run south to Ticonderoga to catch largemouths. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Champlain

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Champlain

FLW Live is back for the season finale of the FLW Tour on Lake Champlain. The event, which is presented by T-H Marine and hosted by the City of Plattsburgh and Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau runs Thursday, June 27 through Sunday, June 30. READ MORE »

Exploring Champlain with Strelic

Exploring Champlain with Strelic

Living about as far as possible from Champlain, Wade Strelic is looking to finish his rookie season strong at the FLW Tour finale. Hailing from Alpine, Calif., near San Diego, Strelic is sitting 28th in points and has made the check cut in three out of six events so far – another good derby will lock him in to the FLW Cup. READ MORE »

Nelson Wraps Champlain Practice

Nelson Wraps Champlain Practice

Ron Nelson is easily in the group of favorites in the event and a bonafide Northern expert, so I was eager to hop in the boat for a morning with the smallie snatcher. Champlain isn’t fishing quite like it was the years he won, but Nelson is still guaranteed to have a lot of eyes on him come day one. READ MORE »

Scouting for Smallies with Felix

Scouting for Smallies with Felix

Over the years, a lot of anglers have established impressive records on Lake Champlain, but few have done it as quickly and authoritatively as Austin Felix. READ MORE »

Get to Know Lake Champlain

Get to Know Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is a giant of a lake. It stretches 100-plus miles from its beginning down south at Whitehall, N.Y., and runs all the way up to the Canadian border between the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Adirondacks in New York. Though the competitors aren’t allowed to venture into Canada, there is still plenty for anglers to break down for the final event of the 2019 FLW Tour season. READ MORE »

Bedford, Brown Lead at Pickwick

Bedford, Brown Lead at Pickwick

Weighing in a three-fish limit of bass that averaged more than 4 1/2 pounds apiece has JD Bedford and Walker Brown of Lawrence County High School in the driver’s seat at the 2019 High School Fishing National Championship on Pickwick Lake. Keegan Fort and Clayton Page lead the High School Fishing World Finals with a three-fish limit worth 14 pounds, 5 ounces. READ MORE »

Top High Schoolers Headed for Pickwick

Top High Schoolers Headed for Pickwick

This week, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) reservoir touching Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama pulls double duty for a joint production of the High School Fishing National Championship (Wednesday-Friday) and the 10th annual Student Angler Federation High School Fishing World Finals (Wednesday-Saturday). READ MORE »

Review: Jackson Kayak Bite

Review: Jackson Kayak Bite

In the burgeoning fishing kayak market, there’s still a pretty large gap, on the whole, between entry-level boats (think $500 or less) and the top end of the market. It’s hard to find a really good kayak that blends quality, stability and affordability for anything less than $1,000. READ MORE »

Review: LIVETARGET Tennessee Craw

Review: LIVETARGET Tennessee Craw

With the number of great crankbaits on the market or discontinued and still in high-demand, new crankbaits have to be pretty good to earn a space in a tacklebox. While I wouldn’t say the LIVETARGET Tennessee Craw is a surefire classic, after a few days of fishing it, I know I’ll be throwing it a lot more. READ MORE »

2019 Lake Champlain Preview

2019 Lake Champlain Preview

Champlain is such a fun location for a tournament in large part because of the unpredictability involved. Nelson winning last year’s Costa FLW Series tilt with all smallmouths was something of a surprise, but given the conditions, it made plenty of sense. Exactly what will go down this year is legitimately up in the air. READ MORE »

By the Numbers: Lake Champlain

By the Numbers: Lake Champlain

The 2019 FLW Tour season comes to a close later this month on Lake Champlain, a lake that just about guarantees a fun finish and lots of smallmouths. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 1

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 1

In today’s morning story, James Biggs made several predictions for the first day of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Based on what our media team saw this morning, Biggs’ predictions are basically spot on. Two-thirds of the field is fishing up shallow, and there aren't many big bass to speak of. READ MORE »

Rapala Varsity Bass presented by General Tire, A New, Original YouTube-Based Reality Series Premieres Today

Rapala Varsity Bass presented by General Tire, A New, Original YouTube-Based Reality Series Premieres Today

Rapala Varsity Bass presented by General Tire, a new, original YouTube-based reality series, produced by Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), will premiere Tuesday, June 11 (3p ET), on the FLW Fishing YouTube channel... READ MORE »